I came across a distant friend’s page on Instagram and I couldn’t help but notice that he had a massive following. “How is this possible?” I somewhat enviously said to myself. I mean, it would make sense if the guy had abs, or maybe even if he had abs.
I really want abs.
I admit, some people have managed to gain a sizable following without the use of abs. They have on display, some unique talent. But he had no talent! Well, I’m sure he had some talent, but it wasn’t exhibited on his account.
Not long after my observation, Instagram began sending out notifications regarding "changes in the number of followers" people have. Apparently, there’s an entire industry devoted to creating fake accounts with the intention of selling ‘followers’. The industry is referred to as ‘click farming’--and Instagram had targeted it. (Much to the dismay of my untalented friend.)
Essentially, someone could go from having 20 followers to 20,000 followers by paying a fee. What a Godsend! But here’s the downfall, real people may observe the discrepancy between your audience and the activity on your page. For example, an account with 20,000 followers but only 20 likes and 2 comments is a red flag. And having a fake following only makes your account look like a silly, pointless, waste of time.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a handful of real friends following you, than thousands of fake ones? Either way, Instagram had recognized the problem, and was about to clean it up—and we’d be foolish to think that Christ won’t do the same.
You see, the church today has become much like the industry devoted to ‘farming’ accounts. And people have noticed the discrepancy between the billions that follow Christ, and the little activity done (not just in His name, but more importantly, in His will). As a result, Christianity looks fake—a silly, pointless, waste of time.
During Jesus' ministry, many wanted to follow Him, but He turned them away—their hearts weren’t truly His. Now, when I said the Sinner’s Prayer at age I-don’t-remember, I proclaimed that I wanted to follow Jesus. And when I was finally baptized at age I-don’t-remember, I again proclaimed that I wanted to follow Jesus. But is my activity reflecting that I am following Jesus? Is my heart is truly His, or am I just another farmed account?
If so, the day will ultimately come when I’ll be separated from His real followers.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ” Matthew 13:24-29